One common method of analyzing the root cause of the business need is called the 5 why’s.
So what are the 5 why’s ?
The 5 Why’s is a technique that is derived from Six Sigma. It involves repeatedly asking the question “Why” until you get to the root of the problem. This method is used to enable the business analyst to identify the root cause of a problem.
Though it may be called the 5 why’s, the business analyst might need to ask less or more than five questions to get to the root cause of the problem.
So how does it work ?
The 5 why’s technique works like this:
If a stakeholder states that they need a new reporting software because the one that they are currently using is not working properly, the business analyst has to understand why the current application is not working as expected.
In this scenario, the business analyst can use the 5 why’s to analyze the business need.
The interview session with the stakeholder can go something like this :
Stakeholder : We need a new reporting software ?
Business Analyst : Why do you think you need a new reporting software ?
Stakeholder : Because the figures in the reports are incorrect ?
Business Analyst : Why do you think you the figures are incorrect ?
Stakeholder : Because they don’t match the data in the database.
So the 5 why’s technique has been used by the business analyst to understand the root cause of the business need.
Now the business analyst can use this information to carry out further analysis into why the figures on the report don’t match the figures in the database.
This could lead to the identification of an erroneous reporting configuration, a bad report design or the reports might be pulling their data from the wrong database.
There are numerous benefits to using the 5 Whys technique and they include the following :
- It is a very simple analysis tool.
- It can help identify the root cause of a problem.
- It can be used to determine the relationship between different root causes of a problem.
But when should you use the 5 Whys technique ?
The 5 why’s techniques should be used when trying to understand the stakeholder’s needs, when the solution involves human interactions or when the business analyst is trying to understand a business process.